×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘American in Paris’ Makes City of Lights a Broadway Tryout Town

For an increasingly global theater industry, all the world's a stage for New York-bound musicals

Chicago, Seattle, L.A., San Francisco: They’re all on the list of go-to towns for pre-Broadway tryouts of new musicals. Now? Add Paris and Hamburg.

The brewing musical version of “An American in Paris” — produced by the international coalition of Pittsburgh CLO (Van Kaplan) and Paris’ Theatre du Chatelet (Jean-Luc Choplin), by special arrangement with Elephant Eye Theatrical (Stuart Oken, Michael Leavitt and Five Cent Prods.) — will have its world premiere at Theatre du Chatelet, with the Gershwin property brought to the stage by a team of Rialto vets that includes book writer Craig Lucas, creative consultant Bartlett Sher and designers Bob Crowley and Natasha Katz. Christopher Wheeldon, the ballet dancer and choreographer, will direct and choreograph.

For an industry that’s more used to the next Broadway musical coming from Chicago or Seattle, “American in Paris” seems an unusually global affair. But it probably won’t be unusual for long: This spring’s incoming tuner “Rocky,” also backed by a transatlantic team of producers, had its bow earlier this year in Hamburg. (The same city’s on the list of potential homes for a future incarnation of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”)

New York theater, of course, has long had strong import-export ties with London. But these days it’s impossible for producers not to look past the Broadway-West End highway to the continent, and beyond, as far-flung international cities including Hamburg, Vienna, Seoul, Tokyo, Moscow and even Dutch beach town Scheveningen have proven profitable destinations for Broadway-style entertainment.

The global propagation of Brit megahits like “The Phantom of the Opera” (25 years and counting on Broadway) paved the way for tuners including “The Lion King” and “Wicked” to become internationally iconic titles with productions running around the world. As producers and presenters abroad take note of those successes in their hometowns, it’s only natural for them to want to get in on the game of developing Broadway fare as well as licensing it for their stages.

Take Dusseldorf-based legit production company Mehr! Entertainment, topped by Maik Klokow. The company, with German productions of musicals including “Starlight Express” and “Dirty Dancing” under its belt, has skedded an industry-only developmental reading of brewing musical “The Blue Angel” in Gotham Oct. 18 to drum up transatlantic interest in the project. Director BT McNicholl pens the book with Jeffrey Sweet, while “Smash” alum Joshua Bergasse is on board to choreograph.

Based on the 1951 Vincent Minnelli pic that starred Gene Kelly (which was itself based on a 1928 orchestral piece by George Gershwin), “An American in Paris” follows a U.S. veteran, fresh out of WWII, who moves to Paris and finds himself vying with two other men for the affections of a local shop girl. Stage version will incorporate familiar songs by George and Ira Gershwin including “S’Wonderful,” “I Got Rhythm” and “They Can’t Take That Away.”

“American in Paris” will bow at Theatre du Chatelet in December 2014, with producers aiming to get the tuner onto Broadway in spring 2015.

Popular on Variety

More Legit

  • A Christmas Carol review

    Broadway Review: 'A Christmas Carol'

    Those expecting a traditional take on Charles Dickens’ classic holiday perennial may be in for a shock at the new Broadway version of “A Christmas Carol.” Or at least they might be terribly perplexed by this dour production, whose additions only subtract from the potency of the transformative tale. While there have been many adaptations [...]

  • Timothee Chalamet poses for photographers at

    Timothée Chalamet to Make London Stage Debut With Eileen Atkins in '4000 Miles'

    Timothee Chalemet is set to take to the London stage for the first time, appearing next spring in Amy Herzog’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated play “4000 Miles.” Matthew Warchus will direct the production at The Old Vic, which will also star Eileen Atkins (“The Crown,” “Gosford Park”). The play opens April 2020. It turns on the story [...]

  • Jonathan Groff

    Listen: Jonathan Groff Knows He's a Spitter

    If you’ve seen “Little Shop of Horrors” — the starry revival headlined by Jonathan Groff in a small Off Broadway theater — you probably noticed that Groff spits a lot when he speaks onstage. He’ll be the first to tell you that he’s been a spitter as long as he can remember, but “Little Shop” [...]

  • Key Largo

    L.A. Theater Review: Andy Garcia in 'Key Largo'

    Would “Casablanca” make a good play? Guess what: It was first produced on stage as “Everybody Comes to Rick’s.” How about “Key Largo,” the black-and-white Bogie-and-Bacall vehicle in which a handful of misfits find themselves trapped in a South Florida hotel while a hurricane rages outside? In fact, the 1948 John Huston film was adapted [...]

  • Sophia Anne Caruso and Alex Brightman'Beetlejuice'

    How 'Beetlejuice: The Musical' Became a Broadway Turnaround Story

    Christopher Kuczewski is what you’d call a Netherling. It’s a reference to the netherworld inhabitants who populate “Beetlejuice: The Musical,” the off-beat adaptation of the 1988 hit film that’s becoming an unlikely Broadway turnaround story. And that designation, which has been given to superfans of the show, goes a long way towards explaining how a [...]

  • Lena Waithe'The Inheritance' Broadway play opening,

    Lena Waithe, Anderson Cooper Attend Broadway Opening of 'The Inheritance'

    “The Inheritance” pulls viewers in many directions — toward pain and hope, trauma and healing. It’s what brought stars like Andy Cohen, Anderson Cooper, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick and Lena Waithe to Broadway on Sunday — a chance to heal, to remember and grieve. Also in attendance for the premiere at the Barrymore Theater [...]

  • Touching the Void review

    West End Review: 'Touching the Void'

    It shouldn’t work. Attempting to make effective theatre out of scaling a mountain, facing disaster thousands of feet up in the freezing cold and enduring a drawn-out facedown with death is surely a preposterous idea. Yet that is exactly what playwright David Grieg and director Tom Morris and his ideally meshed creative team have done. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content